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Sole traders,how do you manage while on holiday?(12 Posts)
I'm wondering what to do here. I'm a self employed gold/silversmith and jewellery designer with my business largely run online at present (branching into selling in a few shops soon but not important for the following).
I work from home at present and over the summer holidays I will be away for the first two weeks and potentially the last,with my son. My working hours over the holidays will be unusual and out of sync anyway as ds is severely autistic and I'm on my tod!
I generally make to order but will need to make extra up prior to the end of July to make sure I don't end up messing up and can get everything hallmarked in time. I also want to relax while we are away and not keep checking in,putting the business on hold and notifying as such,or update my social media pages while I'm meant to be having fun!
So,I've considered hiring someone I can explicitly trust to check for orders,respond to queries rather than giving an 'I'm away until xxx' automated response,respond to social media posts if there is a problem or someone requesting delivery times,print invoices,package and post any orders that come in if the piece is already made and potentially take in delivery from the assay office.
It's possible that no,or few orders will come in over that time but I don't like the idea of the business appearing dead for 3 weeks out of 6!
Is it really worth doing this or should I just leave it with messages on my site etc stating I'm away and check in at times? I'm in my first year so still very much building up but I'm not convinced the whole 'I'm away' thing looks entirely professional,although I know some do it.
What do you do? Do you take time on your holiday? I know I can set status updates etc on social media to post at certain times in advance but I'd have to respond to posts then or I'd look rather ignorant!
If I were to hire someone what would he the best way to go about it as a sole trader? Employ as temp or treat the person as self employed?
One advantage is having someone keep an eye on the house at the same time ;)
Tbh, I do continue working whilst I'm away - at least so far as responding to enquiries, phone calls, general admin, finances etc etc. Then again, I continued working through family holidays when I was employed too.
I do employ others, but don't leave them to answer initial enquiries or admin (control freak...), I deliberately didn't go down the route of treating them as self-employed, but that's what worked best for my situation. I think the best approach for you will depend on your business.
As a sole trader I can't imagine finding anyone I could trust with my business for such a short period of time. There's no skin in the game for them.
I tell my clients I'm going away, and I check my emails every day and respond to any queries saying when I'll be back. That's easier imo than worrying about someone else mucking things up or - worse - stealing my clients.
I tell some people I'm going away but will still pick up emails. Most are considerate and try not to email me. I don't think you can just shut up shop for a couple of weeks when you're running a small business.
I never ever do an out of office message
I pick up email each evening : and actually try to only respond twice a day when I'm at home
so clients learn to cope
I have a message that doesn't say I am out of the office, and will be checking emails but may take longer to reply than usual. Doesn't say I'm on hols, but gives me some leeway if I want to ignore email for a day or so - tbh, I'd always check email once a day on hols on the phone anyway, but sometimes ignore stuff for a while! i don't have social media that needs monitoring though - can see that's trickier.
I work business to business so an out of office is fine. I'm not sure with a customer-facing business.... Can see it might be weird to order something from an online "shop" and get an out of office. Hmm.... Sorry that doesn't help.
I'll be going away soon and I run a busy mobile beauty business as well as a Forever Living business. I will allocate an hour every evening to replying to messages but other than that I will be trying to relax. I will put on my fb page/website/voicemail that from X until X I will only be replying to messages in the evening between 7-8pm and cannot take bookings for these dates so please be patient and I will get back to you.
Hope that gives you some ideas! Xx
It's always a good idea to prepare extra before you go away but I like to avoid looking like I've "shut up shop" so automate as much as possible before going away. Sign up for Hootsuite (free version) if you haven't already and schedule tweets, facebook, google+ updates before you go away. Put your email on auto-responder but don't say you are on holiday - maybe something like "due to the current volume of orders.....our normal delivery schedule of xx days....."
Remember that many other people are on hols so it is likley to be quieter than usual anyway.
And I agree with others that it is not easy to 1. find someone just to fill in for 3 weeks or 2. find someone you can trust to do a good job.
You may need to check everything is ticking over occasionally but allocate a fixed time every couple of days and you should still be able to enjoy your holiday.
I have an online shop and I do literally shut for the entire time. I still check in every few days but holiday is the only time I get any days off from work so I have to relax and not think about it.
I make to order so close a week before I go away to ensure orders are dispatched and to tie up any loose ends. I've been trading for 3 1/2 years and it's always worked for me although this year I'm away for two weeks at once rather than two separate weeks, so will see how that pans out.
I am a freelance administrator and a few times have been asked to look after sole traders emails/social media accounts while they're away.
Ranges usually from issuing personal responses to emails, checking messages and updating social media, taking calls from clients (nothing company specific, more just so the phone isn't ringing out)
I would take details and arrange a list/diary for their return.
This way you're not leaving the business in the hands of a competitor and don't have to worry about someone messing up your business as such - but you know there is someone there to answer generic queries and advise clients when you will return. Looking for something similar might be worth thinking about?
DH and i run our own business but luckily we employ a full time member of staff who looks after the office. However we still have to deal with emails & phonecalls on holiday plus quote new jobs.
Smart phones have been a big help to our business as we can do all of this really easily plus there is loads of wi-fi about to avoid data charges abroad. When i'm looking for holiday cottages or hotels wi-fi is an absolute must.
Do you get work enquiries every day? Or could you send up a out of office message that it will take you longer to respond and then aim to respond within a couple of day. I think that's what i'd do in your circumstances unless you've got someone you can absolutely trust to run things for you.